The largest group of independent artisans in North America, the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community is located on an historic 8-mile loop that has been designated a Tennessee Heritage Arts & Crafts Trail. Year round, guests can browse and buy the handmade work of the more than 120 artists and craftsmen in the community. As guests browse, they can watch the artisans hard at work in their studios, creating exceptional pieces of art in processes that consumers rarely get to see. People of all ages will enjoy exploring the loop, buying gifts and souvenirs, and seeing how the craftsmen create their intricate wood carvings, furniture, gorgeous pottery, and elaborate baskets.
The community’s goal is to celebrate Tennessee’s rich and diverse history, particularly in the field of art and craftsmanship. The Tennessee Heritage Trail where the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community is located provides guests with a glimpse into Gatlinburg’s past and present culture.
Some of the beautiful, original work created by the local artisans and craftsmen in the community includes:
- Leather goods
- Stained glass
- Wood carvings
- And much more!
Guests can also shop online for pottery, handmade gifts, and watercolors from Alewine Pottery, A Troll in the Park, and A. Jann Peitso, art! Many visitors take home a piece of art, woodwork, or quilt that becomes a family heirloom – passed down from generation to generation and cherished for years. Work of this quality is not often found, and because everything is handmade and one-of-a-kind, these particular pieces cannot be bought anywhere else!
Special Annual Events
Throughout the year, the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community puts on 3 major crafts shows: one at Easter, one at Thanksgiving, and one at Christmas. They are held at the Gatlinburg Convention Center, and admission is FREE. Each show brings together the artisans in a convenient location for visitors to meet the artisans and craftsmen, check out their one-of-a-kind work, and buy truly unique pieces to treasure. Show hours are Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.
Each of the shows previews the work that guests will find year round on the 8-mile loop, with special pieces created just for that holiday. The holiday shows are the perfect opportunities to buy gifts for family and friends, or to pick up décor for the home. The Christmas show will feature handmade ornaments and Christmas-themed wood carvings, while the Thanksgiving show often has gorgeous centerpieces and autumnal foods. The Easter show is the perfect opportunity to find pieces for a festive Easter brunch table or for a memorable basket for Mom.
- 2017 Easter Craft Show - April 12 - 15
- 2017 Thanksgiving Craft Show - November 21 - 26
- 2017 Christmas Craft Show - November 27 - December 3
Foundation & History
The Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Foundation was established in 2000 to create a heritage museum project in the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community that would link its rich cultural past with present day through education, social activity, historical awareness, and an archiving of cultural treasures. On September 3, 1999, The Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Cultural Heritage Museum project was designated as an official project of Save America’s Treasures.
“Save America’s Treasures” is a public-private partnership between the White House Millennium Council and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Save America’s Treasures was started by First Lady Hillary Clinton in May 1998, and is now a national effort to protect America’s threatened cultural treasures and historical structures that document and enlighten the history and culture of the United States. In March of 2000, businessman Billy Proffitt donated the 100-year-old, 2-story former home of the Coy Ogle family to the Foundation. By August of 2003, this home was reconstructed and restored to serve as a Welcome Center to the Arts & Crafts Community and an initial exhibit for the Heritage Museum.
For more information about the history of the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community, go to www.gatlinburgcrafts.com/history.
Restaurants & Cafés
Along the 8-mile loop, several restaurants and snack shops offer places to rest and refresh during a long day of shopping. Eateries along the loop include:
- Morning Mist Café
- Glades Soda Fountain
- Glades Homemade Candies
- Hogg’s Pub & Grub
- Simply Savory Gift & Gourmet
- Crystelle Creek Restaurant & Grille
- Jams, Jellies, Nuts & More
- The Cabin Café
- Three Jimmy’s Restaurant
Location & Hours
The Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community is located just 3 miles from downtown Gatlinburg. Turn at traffic light #3 in downtown and go 3 miles on Highway 321 N. Most shops are open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily and are open all year long. Free parking is available for all the shops, galleries, and cafés, and old-fashioned trolley rides from Gatlinburg to the loop are just $1.